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Nanaimo Bars – Easy No Bake Dessert

Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian no bake dessert with 3 irresistible layers of chocolate and custard cream! They are a must try.

Nanaimo Bars plated on a white plate

Nanaimo Bars Recipe

Some of you are likely asking, what are Nanaimo Bars? They are a popular Canadian no bake dessert consisting of a chocolate, coconut and pecan crust with a vanilla custard cream all topped with chocolate ganache. They are named after the west coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Nanaimo Bars are the perfect no bake summer dessert! They can be served chilled or at room temperature. Since they can be made ahead and stored in the fridge (or frozen) they are a perfect dessert for your summer get togethers.

What is in Nanaimo Bars?

ingredients to make nanaimo bars
  • Three Irresistible Layers:
    • The crust is a combination of graham cracker crumbs, coconut and finely chopped pecans. All mixed with butter, cocoa powder and sugar. The crust is not overly sweet but is full of chocolate coconut goodness!
    • The middle layer is a sweet custard butter cream. Traditionally custard powder (linked here) is whisked with butter, icing sugar and milk. However, custard powder can be hard to find so vanilla pudding mix can be substituted instead
    • The chocolate top layer of these heavenly bars is a simple chocolate ganache made with semi-sweet chocolate and butter

How to Make Nanaimo Bars

Full Printable Recipe Below

steps for making Nanaimo Bars

Prepare the Crust

1 Line a square baking dish with parchment paper so that the parchment paper overhangs the edges. Cut two long rectangular pieces of parchment paper and overlap them. The overhang will be used to pull the bars out of the tray for easier slicing. For thicker bars use an 8×8 inch dish, for thinner bars use a 9×9 inch dish.

2 Prepare the crust. Set up a double boiler on your oven, on medium high heat bring a pot with 2 cups of water to a boil. Carefully place a heat proof metal bowl on top. Add ½ cup of butter to the bowl and allow to melt. Note: be sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. The steam from the boiling water will heat the bowl enough to melt the contents.

3 When fully melted stir in the cocoa powder and sugar. Whisk until melted.

4 Quickly pour in the whisked egg and whisk until thickened.

5 Remove bowl from heat. Fold in the graham cracker crumbs, pecans and coconut until evenly combined.

6 Pour the crust mixture into the lined baking dish and spread it out evenly. Use a cup to firmly press the crust down. Place in the fridge.

steps for making Nanaimo bars

Prepare the Filling

7 Prepare the filling by adding all of the filling ingredients to a medium sized bowl and whisking by hand or with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

8 Remove the baking dish from the fridge and pour the filling on top. Evenly spread the filling and use a spatula or spoon to smooth out the top. Try to make the top as smooth as possible so the chocolate layer will pour evenly on top.

9 Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. The filling must be chilled or it will melt when the chocolate layer is poured on top!

steps to make nanaimo bars

Prepare the Chocolate Topping

10 Prepare the chocolate topping. Using the double boiler again and a clean metal bowl, add the chocolate and butter. Stir continuously until fully melted.

11 Remove the baking dish from the fridge and quickly pour the chocolate on top. Use a spatula or spoon to evenly spread the chocolate. You can use the back of a spoon or other utensil to create a design on the chocolate if desired (ex. Swirls).

12 Place the baking dish back in the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

13 When ready to slice the bars, use the parchment paper to pull the whole bar out of the baking dish. Place a large sharp knife in a tall cup and pour in hot water. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes to warm up the knife, or run warm water over the knife in a sink for 2-3 minutes.

Carefully slice the bars and clean the knife after each slice so the chocolate does not smudge onto the middle cream layer.

Nanaimo Bars plated on a white plate

Serve and enjoy!

Store bars in an air tight container in the fridge. If stacking the bars in a container place a piece of parchment paper between the layers so they do not stick.

Nanaimo Bars plated on a white plate

Looking for More Canadian Classics?

Try some of my other easy Canadian recipes!

  • Beaver Tails – Canadian style fried dough shaped into a ‘tail’. Coated in a cinnamon sugar for a sweet delight!
  • Halifax Donair – invented in Halifax donairs are a unique twist on the Greek gyro with a tangy creamy garlic sauce.
  • Butter Tarts – one of my favorite desserts! Sweet and creamy maple based filling with pecans baked in tart shells.

Enjoy!

– Sab

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.

Nanaimo Bars plated on a white plate

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars are a popular Canadian no bake dessert consisting of a chocolate coconut and pecan crust with a vanilla custard cream all topped with chocolate ganache. They are named after the west coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. The perfect no bake summer dessert! They can be served chilled or at room temperature. Since they can be made ahead and stored in the fridge (or frozen) they are a perfect dessert for your summer get togethers.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Chilling Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 24 Bars
Calories 221 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Crust

  • ½ cup butter, unsalted
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ¾ cup coconut, shredded, unsweetened
  • ¼ cup pecans, finely chopped

Filling

  • ½ cup butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons custard powder, or vanilla pudding mix

Chocolate Topping

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chips, bars or melting wafers
  • 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted

Instructions
 

  • Line a square baking dish with parchment paper so that the parchment paper overhangs the edges. Cut two long rectangular pieces of parchment paper and overlap them. The overhang will be used to pull the bars out of the tray for easier slicing. For thicker bars use an 8×8 inch dish, for thinner bars use a 9×9 inch dish.
  • Prepare the crust. Set up a double boiler on your oven, on medium high heat bring a pot with 2 cups of water to a boil. Carefully place a heat proof metal bowl on top. Add ½ cup of butter to the bowl and allow to melt. Note: be sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. The steam from the boiling water will heat the bowl enough to melt the contents.
  • When fully melted stir in the cocoa powder and sugar. Whisk until melted.
  • Quickly pour in the whisked egg and whisk until thickened.
  • Remove bowl from heat. Fold in the graham cracker crumbs, pecans and coconut until evenly combined.
  • Pour the crust mixture into the lined baking dish and spread it out evenly. Use a cup to firmly press the crust down. Place in the fridge.
  • Prepare the filling by adding all of the filling ingredients to a medium sized bowl and whisking by hand or with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Remove the baking dish from the fridge and pour the filling on top. Evenly spread the filling and use a spatula or spoon to smooth out the top. Try to make the top as smooth as possible so the chocolate layer will pour evenly on top.
  • Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. The filling must be chilled or it will melt when the chocolate layer is poured on top!
  • Prepare the chocolate topping. Using the double boiler again and a clean metal bowl, add the chocolate and butter. Stir continuously until fully melted.
  • Remove the baking dish from the fridge and quickly pour the chocolate on top. Use a spatula or spoon to evenly spread the chocolate. You can use the back of a spoon or other utensil to create a design on the chocolate if desired (ex. Swirls).
  • Place the baking dish back in the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to slice the bars, use the parchment paper to pull the whole bar out of the baking dish. Place a large sharp knife in a tall cup and pour in hot water. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes to warm up the knife, or run warm water over the knife in a sink for 2-3 minutes.
  • Carefully slice the bars and clean the knife after each slice so the chocolate does not smudge onto the middle cream layer.
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • Store bars in an air tight container in the fridge. If stacking the bars in a container place a piece of parchment paper between the layers so they do not stick.

Video

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NUTRITION

Calories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 2gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 115mgPotassium: 106mgFiber: 2gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 271IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg
This nutrition information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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Recipe Rating




Anthony

Sunday 28th of November 2021

Great to learn about these being Canadian ❤️🇨🇦

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